By Christine Denise
Autism Mom and Contributing Writer for As You Are, a virtual clinic dramatically increasing access to early autism diagnostic services through the use of exclusively telehealth appointments
My neurotypical twin boys could not wait to go to an out-of-town soccer tournament.
My husband and I, on the other hand, were a bit more apprehensive.
Traveling with our son who has autism is a challenge.
Sleeping is exceptionally difficult for him whenever he is in a different place.
He even struggles with getting to sleep in his own room sometimes, but it’s easier to manage when we’re home. Everyone has their own rooms, so if Louie decides he’s not ready to go to sleep, he won’t disrupt my other children from sleeping and my husband and I can take turns trying to get him down.
But when we are all staying in the same hotel room, it is extremely difficult to manage.
Now that my son is 9, my husband and I decided to give going out of town without him a try.
I have to say that at one point, I nearly cancelled all of the logistics we planned among three babysitters because the anxiety over the thought of leaving him in someone else’s care for three days was much higher than the anxiety I experienced just thinking about all of us not getting sleep.
But, we stuck with the plan.
And now, we’re so glad we did.
Our neurotypical children got to spend three days with us devoting all of our attention to them, and not splitting our time between them and their brother.
They got to be around us when we weren’t carrying the stress of taking care of our son with autism as he is essentially the developmental equivalent of an 18-month-old who is nonverbal, still needs assistance getting dressed, using the bathroom, eating. He needs constant supervision.
Our son with autism, meanwhile, got to live it up with three babysitters who adored him, took him out to eat, took him to his favorite trampoline park and swimming – all things we are usually too busy to pull off in one weekend. They sent me pictures of him along the way. And, instead of feeling sad or guilty about not being with him, seeing his beaming face having so much fun made me feel fantastic.
It was like we all had a vacation.
Depending on your child’s developmental level, doing something like that might or might not be possible for you.
If it is, I highly recommend you do it – whether you have children or not.
All of us need to get our batteries recharged.
And all of our children need to experience one-on-one time with us without their siblings – regardless of whether they have a special need.
All of our partners need time with us without our children with special needs, too.
And we need one-on-one time with them, or just ourselves sometimes.
And that’s ok.
Do you have questions about your child’s development? The team at As You Are provides useful autism screening and diagnostic evaluations for kids 16 months to 10 years old via telehealth appointments.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.